Friday, April 29, 2011

Great American Aran Afghan WIP

I wish I had started this blog last Fall.  I have been knitting off and on for about the last 3 years, but last Fall I decided to make myself my first Knitted Afghan.  This is to be a gift for my son, James, who is graduating from high school this June.  I decided to make The Great American Aran Afghan, by Knitter's Magazine.  Wow, for someone who could sort of make socks, and had taught herself how to cable, this was a really ambitious idea.  

I bought the book, and yarn (green because he didn't want a cream one), and started with the easiest blocks.  Since this blog is really a way to review what I am learning about knitting, organize what I am learning, and think about what I am learning... all in order to learn MORE about knitting, it would have been great to have a record of just what I learned!  Because, knitting this afghan has taught me tons about knitting.

A quick recap of some of what I learned:
1. How to read a chart:  Yes, at the beginning, I had to read the line-by-line instructions.  It took me forever to feel comfortable reading Right - Left on the Right Side rows, then Left-Right on the Wrong Side rows.

2. Cable symbols:  I had to double check each cable symbol for instructions.  Now, on my 11th square, I can see the symbol, and know if I am pulling over or under, 1 stitch or 2, purling or knitting, unless it is a complicated pull.  

3. Bobbles and Popcorns:  I have made these many times in crochet, and each square (and designer) seems to use a different method, but Yay, there are knitted bobbles and popcorns on my afghan.

4. Weird constructions:  One square (by Jay Campbell) started with the outermost row and was knit in the "square" (round), towards the center; another (by Kathleen T. Carty), started with a knit border, then the inside was picked up, and knitted in the "square" to the center.

5. Pictures:  The square by Judy Sumner has a spider and leaves in the design.  This was fascinating to me as I have some ideas of my own for afghan squares involving trees of the Pacific Northwest, and Children's Lit, but no idea of how to construct them.

Anyway, I am now on the square designed by Vicki Sever, and am finding it a pretty fast knit because it is SO SIMPLE!  I am still making the occasional mistake, but I understand the directions much faster now, and this allows me to move forward rather than reading and rereading how to do every weird stitch.

So, good things about this project are that I am learning a ton, each square is its own project, so very "doable," and James will have a fabulous gift.  The only down side is that it is a very long term project for a slow knitter, and the more I knit, the more interested I am in trying other things.  I have taken a break from this afghan to make a few things, the Dr. Who Scarf for my friend Ael, and some slippers for my god children, but I am really itching to try out my new 2 at a time sock technique.  I am making myself finish at least the square I am working on before I start something else.  James graduates in June and leaves for college in Sept.  I HAVE A DEADLINE =)


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